Reflections of 2012

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In the past I feel as if my years have started and ended with the school year versus calendar years. But as I grow older, I know my school years are limited and thus I must conform.

My year seemed to have extreme ups and downs. I visited Washington and New York for the first time with some amazing people. I got a chance to go to India alone and experience the culture, without using my mom as a medium. I made lots of memories exploring and learning about Houston, which was last year’s resolution. I got a new laptop, SLR camera, and tablet. I also had significant failures this year: I had a really hard summer, I disappointed myself quite a few times, and I also acted in ways I never thought I would. I know I’ve come out of these things a stronger person and I’m better for it but the struggle was real.

I realized I made a lot of mini-resolutions at the start of the academic school year as I evaluated myself:

  1. Explore Houston. This summer I really got a chance to take in everything the city had to offer. From restaurants to art classes, I’m really glad I got the chance to stay in Houston this summer. I wanted to continue that trend by taking out one Friday afternoon every month to go visit museums and art galleries every month.
  2. Let go of things. Minimize worrying. This has been a struggle from the moment I entered college. I am a worry-wart, the “mommy” in many of my relationships, and an overall stressed-out individual. I take simple things too harshly and I overexaggerate conflict in my mind. I also dislike confrontation. All in all, I’m a big bowl of spaghetti. The resolution was to become more like a waffle (Reference).
  3. Care about my appearance. While I don’t particularly think I’m a sloppy person, I don’t put in the effort to look my best everyday. Especially since I came to college, I haven’t really taken the time to look presentable because I’ve been “studying”. A friend told me that in other cultures to dress sloppily during college just means that you are irresponsible enough to not set aside enough time to look nice. While the comment was not aimed at me, it struck a chord. I pride myself on my organization, but this was one thing I did not set aside time or effort for. And while I’m not prissy, I understand the importance of presentation. Thus, I developed a resolution that I would try to dress better. Part of that started with redoing my wardrobe, which began during the summer.
  4. Surround myself with happiness and respect. I have nearly always been blessed with family and friends that support me. However, at the end of the summer, I felt very dissatisfied with some friendships. I realized that these people, while I care about them, do not offer the same kind of respect that I give them. Thus, I decided to put more effort into certain relationships I wanted to maintain. I want to be open to developing new friendships, but I want to preserve the really good old ones. While this sounds selfish and close-minded, the results can be seen in my levels of happiness and satisfaction.
  5. Be more thankful. Amongst the craziness of college, I felt like I very rarely took the time to thank the people that always encourage me and support me. Thus, I hand-made, hand-wrapped, and hand-delivered christmas presents for all my friends this year. Not only was it a little surprise for them but I felt like I had shown them at least some part of my appreciation in this little way. I started a thing called “Thankful Daily” a couple of years ago where I would write about one thing I’m thankful for in my life but I didn’t keep up with it. I realized that instead of sticking to a resolution that requires such consistent commitment, I’m going to take every opportunity I can to express gratitude- not just to my friends, but to my family and significant other who I very often take for granted.

My freshman year in college, a friend inspired me to create a bucket list. Not for Rice, for life. My sophomore and junior years zoomed by without me really taking a second glance at the list. But I recently took another look at it. Not only have I completed many more things on it, I’ve realized I have a long way to go. The biggest lesson I’ve realized in 2012 is that life goes on. Whether we like it or not, things move forward and we continually grow and change. There will always be people “beneath us” and there will always be people “above us”, but we grow and push ourselves within our capabilities. We can either choose to grow and change ourselves to become better, or face circumstances without learning from them.

While I have my Rice/Houston bucket list ready for my last semester, my real resolution this year is to have an open life. I’m a very private person. While I enjoy meeting new people and bringing them into my world, I don’t like being openly public about everything I do (I promise I’m not a terrorist or anything). To that end, I’m going to attempt to write more and publish more things on my blog. I started this blog as a way to document my internship two summers ago, but I’m going to use it to feature more of my writings and design resources. Another resolution I have is to explore more of my cultural roots through frequent visits to the Gurdwara, cooking ethnic food, and reading old texts. I want to explore my cultural routes as a context for appreciating where I come from but also achieving a sense of spirituality through Hinduism. My third resolution is to follow through for myself. Often times I say that I will read something or watch something to indulge myself but I never end up doing it. I took time to do some leisure reading many nights this last semester, and I want to continue that trend. It gives me peace of mind and the self-satisfaction of following through.

My year has started with reevaluating (and rebranding) myself, and I’m hoping it ends that way as well. I’m looking forward to a hard but rewarding year ahead of me. This year will be bringing lots of changes and some unrevealed paths. Cheers to what is ahead!

Thank you to everyone for their encouragement and support. A special thank you to Onkur Sen who continues to push me to become a better designer, friend, and person everyday.

Shameless plug: Visit my new WEBSITE!

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